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Transportation News Bulletins - LTL and TL

Our current transportation LTL and TL news bulletins are powered by SMC3

August NAFTA trade fell 24.9% from last year
Friday, 30 October 2009 00:00

Trade using surface transportation between the United States and its North American Free Trade Agreement partners Canada and Mexico was 24.9 percent lower in August 2009 than in August 2008, dropping to $54.3 billion, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the value of U.S. surface transportation trade with Canada and Mexico rose 5.3 percent in August 2009 from July 2009; month-to-month changes can be affected by seasonal variations and other factors. The value of U.S. surface transportation trade with Canada and Mexico in August was up 1.3 percent compared to August 2004, and up 26.0 percent compared to August 1999. Imports in August were up 18.8 percent compared to August 1999, while exports were up 35.5 percent.

U.S.-Canada surface transportation trade totaled $32.9 billion in August, down 29.6 percent compared to August 2008. The value of imports carried by truck was 26.1 percent lower in August 2009 compared to August 2008, while the value of exports carried by truck was 17.0 percent lower. Michigan led all states in surface trade with Canada in August with $3.8 billion.

U.S.-Mexico surface transportation trade totaled $21.3 billion in August, down 16.2 percent compared to August 2008. The value of imports carried by truck was 13.5 percent lower in August 2009 compared to August 2008, while the value of exports carried by truck was 14.7 percent lower. Texas led all states in surface trade with Mexico in August with $7.4 billion.

The TransBorder Freight Data are a unique subset of official U.S. foreign trade statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau; new data are tabulated monthly, and historical data are not adjusted for inflation. Surface transportation consists largely of freight movements by truck, rail and pipeline; about 88 percent of U.S. trade by value with Canada and Mexico moves on land.

Commercial Carrier Journal, 10/30/2009

Behavioral change needed to fight distracted driving, Congress told
Friday, 30 October 2009 00:00

America needs strong laws and a systematic approach to make the use of handheld electronic devices while driving socially unacceptable, a trucking executive told a House subcommittee Thursday, Oct. 29.

Testifying on behalf of the American Trucking Associations, Randy Mullett, Con-way Inc. vice president of government affairs, told the Subcommittee on Highway and Transit of the House of Representatives Committee of Transportation and Infrastructure that some new technologies, particularly handheld electronic devices, increase driver distraction. Results of Virginia Tech Transportation Institute’s naturalistic driving study found that text messaging on a cell phone has an estimated combined crash and near-crash risk of 23 times higher than normal.

“Legislation alone will not solve the problem,” Mullett said. “Public attitudes and perceptions will need to change, and any legislation will have to apply to all drivers on the highway. We need to focus on changing behaviors that lead to distracted driving in a systematic and comprehensive manner.”

According to Mullett's testimony, this can be done by:

  • Supporting research, data collection and analysis that reveal the degree and extent of the problem;
  • Aiding efforts to communicate the need for change;
  • Promoting public education and awareness efforts;
  • Using technology to reduce distractions caused by technology;
  • Developing policy and, as necessary, legislation to drive change;
  • Supporting tough penalties and effective enforcement; and
  • Properly funding the above.

ATA and its member carriers support a ban on the use of electronic handheld devices to read, write or send a text message while operating a motor vehicle. ATA’s Executive Committee recently voted to support the ALERT Drivers Act of 2009 that would require states to ban the practice of reading, writing or sending a text message on a handheld device while driving.

Mullett also said that handheld electronic devices should not be confused with in-cab fleet communication systems used by motor carriers. ATA recommends that appropriate restrictions on the use of in-cab communication systems be addressed through a rulemaking by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, rather than by legislation.

Commercial Carrier Journal, 10/30/2009


Senate committee approves Ferro
Wednesday, 28 October 2009 00:00

The U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on Oct. 27 approved the nomination of Anne Ferro to be administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation. The committee also approved the nomination of Cynthia Quarterman to be administrator of DOT's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. The nominations now move to the full Senate for approval.

Promptly after President Obama announced Ferro as his choice for FMCSA administrator this spring, several organizations—the Teamsters Union, the Truck Safety Coalition, Public Citizen and Parents Against Tired Truckers—wrote the president opposing her due to her current ties to trucking and her past public support for current hours-of-service regulations. A New York Times editorial called Ferro’s selection a “peculiar choice” for the job due to her current position as head of the Maryland Motor Truck Association and a letter to The Baltimore Sun that she co-authored in defense of the Bush administration’s hours rules.

Aside from heading MMTA, Ferro serves on regional advisory committees on freight planning, highway safety and transportation funding. And she was Maryland’s Motor Vehicle Administrator from 1997 to 2003, where she is credited with leading the effort to establish a graduated licensing program for new state drivers.

During Ferro's Sept. 23 confirmation hearing, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who heads the Commerce Committee's surface transportation panel, told Ferro that FMCSA is “an agency in dire need of reform” and that he was concerned about her "ability to take the bold action we need to keep Americans safe." Ferro described herself as a safety advocate, pointing to her record in Maryland., 10/28/2009

FMCSA to Reconsider HOS Rule
Wednesday, 28 October 2009 00:00

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has agreed to reconsider, and potentially change, its oftchallenged hours-of-service rule for commercial drivers, putting on hold a federal court challenge by a coalition of interest groups.

The agreement, filed Monday, gives FMCSA nine months to submit its review to the White House and up to 21 months to issue a new final rule to replace the current one. Until that time, the current rule remains in effect.

“Safety is our highest priority at the Department of Transportation and so we believe that starting over and developing a rule that can help save lives is the smart thing to do,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said. FMCSA is a DOT agency.

The present HOS rule allows truckers to drive for 11 hours a day as part of a 14-hour workday and to refresh their weekly allotment of hours by taking a 34-hour break. The rule, which went into effect in 2008, is a replacement for one that was voided by a federal appeals court in 2007.

Richard Holcomb, American Trucking Associations’ general counsel, said the agreement “speaks for itself.” A lawyer for some of the interest groups, Greg Beck, said they were “pleased” with FMCSA’s action.

“Safety in the trucking industry has greatly improved while operating under the current hours-of-service rules,” said ATA President Bill Graves. “Over the past five years we’ve seen a strong decline in truckinvolved crashes on our nation’s highways.”

DOT figures “clearly demonstrate that the trucking industry is now the safest it has been since DOT began keeping crash statistics in 1975,” ATA said in a statement.

The group said it “looks forward to participating in the upcoming rulemaking process to further demonstrate how the current safety-based HOS rules are working and why they should be maintained.”

Transport Topics, 10/28/2009

Diesel Jumps 9.6ยข to $2.801; Gas Gains a Dime to $2.674
Tuesday, 27 October 2009 00:00

Diesel and gasoline both rose for a third straight week, with diesel jumping 9.6 cents to $2.801 a gallon, its highest level in almost a year, the Energy Department said.

Gas gained a dime to $2.674, its highest national average price since June, DOE said Monday following its weekly survey of filling stations.

The diesel increase—which followed last week’s 10.5-cent spike—left it 48.7 cents below the same week last year, while gasoline is just 1.8 cents below a year ago.

Prior to the three-week upturn diesel fell for five straight weeks, declining 9.2 cents in that time. Monday’s price was the highest since the $2.809 national average recorded last Nov. 17.

Gas is at its highest level since the $2.691 per gallon average recorded on June 22.

The gains have been propelled by rising crude oil prices, which closed over $80 a barrel last week for the first time in a year. Oil was trading at about $67 a barrel a month ago, at the end of September.

But crude futures fell by the most in a month Monday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, dropping $1.87 to $78.63 per barrel at the close of Nymex trading as the U.S. dollar strengthened in value, Bloomberg reported.

Each week, DOE surveys about 350 diesel filling stations to compile a national snapshot average price.

Transport Topics, 1027/2009

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